Extreme Heat and Dry Conditions Can Cause Major Foundation Problems
First things first: It gets really hot in Texas. The summers here can be brutal, with temps going over 100 degrees most of the time, and it often stays pretty warm until October. The humidity can be very oppressive at times, but most of us have HVAC systems to keep us cool. But how does the hot weather affect the foundation of our homes?
As the heat in Texas can be overbearing, it can cause damage to the soil on your property, and cause problems if you have a concrete slab foundation. Slab foundations are very common in Texas and they’re susceptible to damage when hot conditions arise. This soil damage, or, shrinkage often occurs when temps reach 100 degrees or higher; with a lack of rain, the soil can actually move away from the slab foundation because it’s so dry. It can also cause the concrete of your foundation to crack.
Texas weather actually doesn’t have to be that hot to affect your foundation. Once it gets into the 90s, the heat can cause the moisture in the soil surrounding your house to evaporate and dehydrate.
Also, it’s not just the summer that you should be concerned about. During the spring and winter months when it’s colder and there tends to be more rain, you should check that there isn’t too much water surrounding your home, such as standing water, or puddles. It’s best to make sure that water properly drains away from your house year round, as too much water buildup can cause foundation problems.
Sinking Foundations and Dehydration
The soil around your house usually tends to be moist, so when dehydration occurs during a heat wave, the soil shrinks, cracks, shifts and can eventually fails to support your foundation. This is also known as settling.
Once settling starts, it will continue to do so until the foundation finds some form of support. So, if the soil has moved from your home due to the heat, the house will shift until it finds firm soil to reestablish itself. One to two months of such heat can be disastrous and, the after effects will be damage not only to your foundation, such as slight sinking, but also to your home with the evolution of cracks in the floors, walls and elsewhere.
If you suspect possible foundation damage, you should do routine checks inside and outside your home for the following:
- Possible cracks in the slab foundation
- Uneven floors
- Cracks in walls
- Cracks in door and window frames
- Stuck doors and windows
One Valuable Ingredient that Can Help Your Foundation Issues
What’s quite fascinating is that this issue can be helped with one simple ingredient: water. Adding water around the foundation of your home has been proven to help prevent shifting and settling. Keep in mind that because of the heat and possible drought, many cities in Texas often impose water restrictions, limiting how much water you can use. If this happens, check with your local government on how much water you can use and on what days. In the event that there are no water restrictions, it should take you no more than twenty minutes to water around your home’s foundation.
One method to keeping the soil moist is to use soaker hoses. These are primarily used for gardening, and they don’t operate like a traditional hose. They’re also known as ‘weeping hoses’ because the water slowly seeps through the fabric and helps slowly saturate the ground. These hoses should be turned on roughly three times a week to keep the ground consistently moist, but not oversaturated. If you go this route, be sure to keep the hoses anywhere from 6-22 inches away from the foundation. The water will eventually seep into the ground and help keep the soil moist.
You can also run sprinklers if you have them. If you don’t have a built in set of sprinklers, you can set up a regular garden hose to a portable sprinkler for about 15 minutes, so that the water sprays the ground around your house and keeps it wet. It’s best to do this during sunset, or once it gets dark, because the water will evaporate if it’s done during the daytime when it’s hot. Keep in mind that you may have a slightly higher water bill, but it may be worth it than having to replace your foundation at an exorbitant cost.
If You Continue to Have Problems
If you’ve tried these methods and you’re still having issues, it may not be the hot weather and could actually be something else. If the situation isn’t improving through your efforts, schedule an appointment with Done Right Foundation Repair.
Since 1998, Done Right Foundation Repair’s team of technicians have provided quality foundation repair services in Austin, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, San Marcos and the surrounding areas. Our qualified team will examine your foundation for any problems that you may not be aware of, perform a thorough evaluation for safety issues, and repair small problems before they become large, expensive, and time consuming.